Thousands protest inflammatory prophet Muhammad comments across India and Bangladesh

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Thousands of people across India and Bangladesh are protesting incendiary comments made by officials of India’s ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Local reports said thousands walked the streets near the main Baitul Mukarram Mosque in downtown Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, after Friday prayers and raised slogans against the Indian government and prime minister Narendra Modi.

Protesters also called for a boycott of Indian products in the country. Groups like the Jamiat Ulema Bangladesh, Khelafat Majlis, Islam Oikyajot and other groups took part in the demonstrations.

Protesters urged Muslim-majority nations across the world to cut ties with India and asked the country to face the consequences until it punishes officials for derogatory comments against prophet Muhammad, in an escalating controversy that has sparked international furore against the remarks made by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Delhi BJP media chief Naveen Jindal.

The BJP suspended Ms Sharma while Mr Jindal was expelled from the party after increasing international pressure to act by several west Asian countries, including Qatar and Afghanistan.

On Friday, protesters in Dhaka also criticised their own government for not condemning India publicly for the comments made by the two officials.

Bangladesh’s Islamist parties’ activists and supporters hold placards and shout anti-India slogans during a demonstration in Dhaka on 10 June to protest former BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma over her incendiary remarks about prophet Muhammad (AFP via Getty Images/Munir uz Zaman)
Bangladesh’s Islamist parties’ activists and supporters hold placards and shout anti-India slogans during a demonstration in Dhaka on 10 June to protest former BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma over her incendiary remarks about prophet Muhammad (AFP via Getty Images/Munir uz Zaman)

Senior police official Abdul Ahad said police had beefed security in light of the protests.

Meanwhile in India, protests have erupted in several major cities over the remarks and have resulted in the deaths of at least two people.

Two protesters died of gunshot wounds during clashes with police in the eastern Indian city of Ranchi in Jharkhand state on Friday. Local reports said at least 10 were being treated for various injuries.

A policeman is being helped by his colleagues after he was injured during a protest against Nupur Sharma for her comments on Prophet Muhammad in India’s Prayagraj city (Reuters/Ritesh Shukla)
A policeman is being helped by his colleagues after he was injured during a protest against Nupur Sharma for her comments on Prophet Muhammad in India’s Prayagraj city (Reuters/Ritesh Shukla)

Protests also erupted in the cities of Kolkata, Hyderabad, Saharanpur, Prayagraj, Moradabad and Kanpur.

In the north Indian Uttar Pradesh state, several protesters also set fire to motorcycles and pushcarts and damaged a police vehicle.

In Kashmir, protesters came out to the streets as well and demanded action against the officials.

Police in India’s capital New Delhi have registered a complaint against Nupur Sharma for her inflammatory comments against prophet Muhammad.

Supporters of Muttahida Shariat Mahaz Pakistan conservative party hold their shoes against a banner depicting Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (left) and former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma (right) during a protest in Pakistan’s Peshawar city on 10 June (EPA/Arshad Arbab)
Supporters of Muttahida Shariat Mahaz Pakistan conservative party hold their shoes against a banner depicting Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (left) and former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma (right) during a protest in Pakistan’s Peshawar city on 10 June (EPA/Arshad Arbab)

“We have registered two FIRs [First Information Report] under appropriate sections on the basis of social media analysis against those trying to disrupt public tranquility and inciting people on divisive lines,” the police said in a Twitter statement on Thursday.

“One pertains to Ms Nupur Sharma & other against multiple social media entities (sic).”

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